This is particularly important for landlords and agents because we are a unique industry during the COVID-19 pandemic because we can’t just shut down. Our obligations to tenants carry on regardless.
The stay at home guidance issued for the lockdown, specifically states that one of the exceptions for leaving home is:
travelling to and from work, but only where you cannot work from home.
… even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.
Within the exception, there is no “essential work” test. The exemption simply applies if “you cannot work from home”. This will include most tradespeople such as plumbers, gas engineers and builders.
The new working in people’s home guidance further clarifies that work can continue:
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.
Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
In respect of any legal obligation such as gas safety records, electrical inspections and such, they can continue to be completed during this lockdown period (as at 26 March 2020).
We have issued guidance on our coronavirus hub about this and we are continually amending as new guidance is published or changed.